Santander - champion of gender equality

Santander is a retail and commercial bank, based in Spain. Founded in 1857, Santander has 90 million customers, around 14,000 branches – more than any other international bank – and over 170,000 employees. In the UK, Santander was formed out of the Abbey, Bradford & Bingley and Alliance & Leicester retail networks. It has over 1,300 branches, around 4,500 cash machines and provides a full range of retail and corporate banking services to 25 million customers. The strength of Santander is in its values: innovation, dynamism, strength, customer focus and professional ethics.

 

Santander Logo
Motivation 
Santander’s approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR) sees diversity and inclusion as key elements.  As part of a global organisation with a geographically and culturally diverse workforce, Santander’s philosophy is simple: a person's individual characteristics, including their gender, should not dictate their ability to play a positive role within the organisation.  Santander believes this makes good business sense, through the positive contribution that its employees make, and that it is its duty as one of the UK's largest employers. 
 
Success in Action
Santander constantly looks to advance its diversity programme to ensure that all staff are given an opportunity to contribute to the company's success regardless of their background and personal circumstances. To reflect the large proportion of women who work for the bank a number of new initiatives have been launched to support women in the workplace.
The bank offers a range of benefits that support employees to achieve a balance between their work and responsibilities as parents and carers through the ‘Passport to Balancing Your Life’ scheme.  This includes, for example, job share options, annualised hours, compressed hours, career breaks and part time employment.   
For employees thinking of becoming parents, Santander’s ‘Passport to Parenting’ benefit offer has a range of options including 14 weeks maternity pay followed by 25 weeks’ statutory pay, and two weeks paid leave for fathers. For families where both parents work for Santander, they can swap the second half of the maternity leave period with their partner, providing increased flexibility. 
A workplace nursery partnership allows employees to confidently place their children in a childcare facility near their home or work, at a discounted rate and through Tommy’s Pregnancy Accreditation Programme pregnant employees can source vital health information via the charity’s “Ask the Expert” email service. And to celebrate a new arrival, Santander will reimburse up to the first £40 paid into an account with a further contribution from the company of £20 on the 5th, 10th and 15th anniversary of the child’s birth or placement date for those that have adopted, for the length of the parents’ employment.
 
Retaining Talent
Santander extends its support for women by offering a comprehensive talent management programme and it is setting targets to increase the number of women represented at senior management level to better reflect its workforce make up. A new gender network and forum will help to create and showcase opportunities for skills development and career coaching.
 
The Impact
It is these sorts of initiatives that make Santander a place where women want to work. In 2010 Santander  employed the highest number of female senior and middle managers compared to UK competitors. Over half of all middle managers (57%) and 39% of senior managers were female and a quarter (25%) of Santander's Executive Directors are female compared to just 5% across other FTSE 100 firms.  Crucially,  Santander staff agree. The 2009 employee opinion survey generated positive feedback from women. For example, three quarters (75%) felt we were actively managing career performance. 
Santander employee:      As a widow with a 5 year old it was hard for me to find a job that fitted around childcare but Santander gave me hope that I could have a career in banking as well as having a young child. 
 
Santander is proud of the diversity policies it offers and will continue to work to further develop its approach to gender inclusion with the support of Opportunity Now..